Tue October 22, 2013
Washington Supreme Court Hears Airplane Meal Workers Case
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:42 pm
Washington’s Supreme Court will decide whether employers must accommodate the religious practices of their employees.
The high court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case involving four employees of an airline catering company. The four men who brought the lawsuit worked for Gate Gourmet making in-flight meals.
No outside food was allowed on the premises, so the employees were provided lunch by the company. The lawsuit alleges the options did not accommodate the religious-based dietary restrictions of the employees.
Attorney Aaron Rocke represents the four men who brought the suit. He told the high court that Washington’s anti-discrimination law should obligate employers to make reasonable religious accommodations. In this case, Rocke says, Gate Gourmet was already making meals to accommodate airline passengers.
“They make halal, vegetarian, gluten-free meals, they respect the dietary preferences of airline passengers in a way they don’t afford to their own employees,” he says.
The attorney for Gate Gourmet countered that -- as currently written -- Washington’s anti-discrimination does not require employers to make religious accommodations.